Barcelona will visit the Sinan Erdem Dome to take on Anadolu Efes in their first EuroLeague game of the season.
The Spanish giants are the defending domestic champions, a title which they crave on the European stage. Their last EuroLeague title came back in 2010. They lost just two games in that campaign in their run to the title. Since then, their best finish has been the quarter-finals, a stage which they have reached four times. Barcelona made the quarter-finals last season as well. Coincidentally, there they faced Turkish side Anadolu Efes.
Efes won the series 3-2, but most of the games were close. The decider was played in Turkey, and Efes got an 80-71 win to knock Barcelona out of the competition. Barcelona finished fifth in the regular season after they won 18 out of the 30 games. They made the playoffs comfortably, but could not manage to clear the first hurdle. In the two seasons before that one, they failed to make the playoffs; finishing 13th and 11th respectively.
Barcelona dominance on a domestic level has also decreased. Their last league title came back in 2014. Since then, bitter rivals Real Madrid have claimed the Liga Endesa crown four out of the five teams. Barcelona finished second last time as they won just one less game than champions Madrid. They will hope to mount another title challenge this time. Nikola Mirotic is the headline arrival this summer, as he moved from the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA. A prolific three-point shooter, Mirotic averaged 11.2 points in the regular season for Milwaukee.
Efes beat Barcelona last season in the quarter-final and went all the way to the final. They got the better of Fenerbahce Bako in the semi-finals to book a match-up with CSKA Moscow in the final. CSKA claimed a 91-83 win in the final to claim the eighth title in their history. As for Efes, it was their first appearance in a EuroLeague final. They have reached the final four on two other occasions.
Surprisingly, Efes finished in the last place in the 2017-18 EuroLeague regular season. They managed to win just seven games in that campaign. The next season saw radical improvement in their run to the final. Last season also saw such growth on the domestic stage. Efes claimed their first league title since 2009 when they beat Fenerbahce in the Finals.
Efes have a strong American contingent in their squad, especially in the potential starting five. The likes of Bryant Dunston, Chris Singleton, and James Anderson should be in starting roles this season. Shane Larkin will be their point guard, and he was crowned as the Turkish League Finals MVP last time.
Anadolu Efes vs Barcelona Betting Tips
Efes have significantly improved last season, and that form should continue. They should claim a close win in their first game over Barcelona. The points differential should be less than 10 points, as Barcelona will keep up with the pace.